Thursday, July 18, 2019

7 Stories leaps into greatness

March 15, 2019 by Emily Welch, contributing writer

Everyone gets the feeling like they are teetering on the edge of reality sometimes. As a college student, we are all aware of life’s unpredictability and stresses. Therefore, heading out to review a play with a storyline featuring someone standing on the ledge of a building, contemplating what to do next, seems like something identifiable. 

Written by Canadian playwright Morris Panych, 7 Stories hits all of the right spots. I had heard it was funny, and as it was written 30 years ago, it’s full of the wicked jokes that today’s political correctness backs away from. That doesn’t mean it is offensive—not at all, actually. It’s gutsy and willing to take risks, and it smiles through them. 

7 Stories takes place, yes, seven stories up, in one of the most jaw-dropping sets I have ever seen. Designed by award-winning set designer Ken MacDonald, the set is a mixture of interactive architecture and brilliant lighting. There’s a row of windows at the top, each opening to display the actors who are talking at that time and then closing when the lines have been spoken. The costumes, designed by Bryce Butkiewicz, are glamorous; I picture them accompanied with martinis and jazz.

7 Stories speaks to the human condition (photo by Dean Kalyan).

7 Stories’ ledge-teetering protagonist, known as The Man, is played by Lyle Hendriks. Hendriks plays his part with conviction; I felt the emotions he was feeling and wanted to tell him it will all be okay. Aidan Guerreiro steps into the shoes of the under-slept and volatile psychiatrist, and Tallas Munro and Taryn Yoneda play Rodney and Charlotte, the couple everyone hates, thriving on their own drama of brutal fighting and passionate make-ups. 

Then there’s the actress who needs her own paragraph: Rahat Saini. Saini is cast as the elderly seer Lillian, who is the last person The Man meets in his adventure. She shines with humour and compassion, playing her role with as much of an impact as The Man’s final decision.

With its amazing set, marvellous actors, and evocative story that speaks so clearly to the human condition, 7 Stories is an experience that will stay with you for a very long time.

7 Stories
Various times, until Sunday, March 24
$26, Phoenix Theatre, UVic

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